Two Miles

This past month I’ve been driving a route that I’ve driven often since I first got my driver’s license – many moons ago…

And I’ve found my mind returning over and over to the stories from my past that all occur within a little over 2 miles of roadway out of the 28 total miles.

All while my eyes, today, observe and deliver to my mind to things to contemplate.

Things that change but really, rather stay the same.

From West to East:

As one travels eastward, and enters the 2+ mile stretch – they will find themselves on an apparent flat stretch of 2 lane black ribbon pavement. The young and adventurous or those who believe ‘all is flat and you can see forever’ will take the risk to pass when the yellow highway markings say, “um…not safe yet’.

This is thanks to the illusion of a ‘flat run’ that hides small undulations within the land – where oncoming cars hide and ‘pop’ out just about the time one is racing to pass the slow line of campers, tractor trailers or many are easing around the combine/tractor driving on the shoulder, but not fully out of the travel lane.

While I’m not a geologist, I do believe these undulations are there from the long ago scraping, heaving and deposits left by retreating glaciers.

Within a 10 minute drive, all around where I live, I can gaze upon rolling earth, and rock outcroppings, where little in way of forage grows for ranging livestock, and yet, some of the most beautiful and hardy prairie plants take root and survive in the elements that swing wildly between wintry blustering winds that drive the ‘wind chill’ factor down to well below zero and hotter than hell, dehydrating, furnace blasts that sap and test the spirit of humans, flora and fauna alike, these hardy flowering plants survive among the sharp, unforgiving edges and rubble, once made smooth through pressure and the elements, but now worn into small chips & flakes that nip, or slice, at anything that dares to push too hard or move too fast through their territory.

The plants that survive in these locations often play close to the ground. short stalks, and quick turn around from stem/leaf growth to blossom and going to seed is why they survive here.

They propagate fast and pass on their heritage to the coming years landscape without having to survive dying of thirst or high winds.

Often they hide or sport spines, stickers or burrs – they, too, must protect themselves.

Sometimes they are so tender, so prone to injury or damage by the careless foot, that one wonders how they even dare to survive in this landscape without some further measure of defense?

How?

Because they Insist

And I’m reminded of a line from Benjamin Capp’s, A Woman of the People:

“Clouds are like flowers that burst out from nothing. Flowers have that same thing. They are too tender and sudden, as if they didn’t belong. How could they live, or even be there? How could they last? How could they dare to be so weak? And bright?”

His good eye was not on the earth, nor the sky, but on her.

“They insist that they belong, beyond all reason. And I insist, too.”

Story Teller, Chapter: Mountains that Wander Away

The False Straightaway

That long seemingly flat stretch is also where I long ago observed a classmate attempt to pass a string of cars at high speed, swerve back in when oncoming traffic surprised him, and watched as he careened out of control and the car rolled umpteen times into the vast flat pasture to the south.

How he and his passenger survived that, and walked away from it, I shall never know, but they did.

He’s been gone from this plane for awhile now. Gone well before the time he could fully share his love of hot cars AND his tale of caution when his children became old enough to drive.

Not because he was brash, or reckless or any of the thousand and one things one thinks of, but merely because his heart decided to stop, earlier than expected or given statistics, while he worked in the yard of his own home.

Next comes the curve….

With the ranch that lays along side of it. The place where a house, barn & indoor arena stands.

I went to work with Dad there sometimes. He did the plumbing there. And the repairs. And the remodels.

That is the same curve where another friend managed to ‘miss it’ and rolled his car deep into the pasture one night, though I didn’t observe it. He, too, walked away, though his car wasn’t as lucky. It got towed home and rebuilt from the frame up.

I know, because I helped here and there, as I was allowed to/smart enough to do what was needed. And I remember the first night it was put back together enough, with working lights and doors, and how the three of us piled into it and drove for the pure pleasure of it. Me and the two friends who had classic cars and who both wrecked along those two miles….

That night, they listened to me sing the old cowboy ballads, because there was no radio back in it yet, and well…it was a moonlit night and the prairie at night time makes me want to burst into song.

The engine rumbled along, playing the drums and the bass.

Ahh…what a car that was….

And what friends they were….

Next comes the long, long hill – with a passing lane…

The hill that defies all logic for many bigger vehicles. It starts it’s incline overall, in the curve – hard to get one’s speed up for taking that hill at a good clip, and the big boys move over to the right, to let the impatient zippy cars and pickups move on around them.

At the crest, when the line of clustered traffic is long, there comes the time where someone has to brake, someone has to speed up and everyone has to get merged back down to one lane, and they’d best get ‘er done fast, or else be ready to take the ditch, because, well, another one of those little undulations lies just beyond where you thought the crest actually was.

That’s the hill where time, rain, wind, sound – – well, in short, the Universe itself, came to a stand still, one night, long ago, when I was driving through what felt like a typhoon, hurricane and waterfall, on my way to work.

My small car was in second gear and straining to keep from dying, as it pushed through the wall of wind and water. And then it all just stopped.

The sheets of water, the shrieking & roar of the wind – all stopped.

The car surged forward and I’m lucky I didn’t redline the tach and blow the engine, given my amazement and slower than I should have realization, I needed to shift up to 3rd, then quickly to 4th.

For that moment in time, it felt as if me and my car were the only things moving. Moving through space and time while they stood absolutely still – unchanging, never changing…..

And then, before me, stretched the grey, misty wall – and I dove into the waterfall of chaos once more –

Downshifted. Downshifted again.

Settled in for another few miles of pedal to the medal, in 2nd gear, and going maybe 35 mph.

That was the night of the June 6, 1990.

A date known to local history as the Limon tornado.

I gave birth to my firstborn son the next day.

Had I realized what I was actually driving THROUGH at the time, I most likely would have given birth right there on the highway.

Ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

Since those long ago times…

There have been many other accidents – in that area where a State Trooper made one last stop for the night to let a traveler know their tail light was out – and got shot for his temerity at stopping them to let them know, “Hey! Hard to see you – check your fuse or lights….”

I worked with one of his son’s for awhile.

There have been many other close calls, horrific carnage and miraculous saves – so many I’m sure I don’t even know about.

You wouldn’t know it….

Just speeding through those two miles to get from here to there –

Sure, there is a house here, the remains of a homestead there – but overall, what most people see, if they even look, is prairie stretching out on all sides of them – soapweeds, grazing cattle maybe a horse or alpaca or two.

Today the cattle were grazing pretty far from each other – it’s been a very hot, dry summer thus far, though perhaps, our traditional August monsoon (as much of a monsoon as we actually get, here) is finally showing up.

The horses grazing in the pasture when I headed out this morning, are instead, standing head to tail, patiently swishing the flies off each other with their tails when I make my way back home, mid-day. It’s hot now and they stoically stand, heads down and swish the pests from each other’s eyes & face.

It pays to have a buddy standing next to ya, out here.

But, for the most part, the hurry, scurry of summer traffic seems to have returned to it’s pre-COVID standard, albeit, there are times the flow seems a little more harried, a little more edgy, a little more impatient, a little more aggressive on some fronts.

Since this state highway is also an artery for a main trucking route, there are more trucks out and about than tourists, it seems, as they work to move supplies from one place to another.

The wheat has been harvested. It’s reported to me that the bushel per acre for many of my neighbors was as good as last year. They don’t know why or how, with the dry late winter/early & late , and the dog days of summer showing up fast & early, but are thankful.

The dryland corn is putting on tassles, though it’s not as tall as it has been in years past.

I haven’t been out to where the beans and sunflowers are in rotation this year. I simply must carve out time to take a road trip down the dusty, dirt arteries that criss-cross this area in blocks – with a curve or jaunt here and there for boundary lines, or to avoid a low spot that used to be a flash flood area.

The ranchers are hoping their fields get some rain – that they’ve rotated their pastures well enough in the past, to keep their stock fed this summer of less quick growing grass.

Hay will most likely be at a premium this coming winter. The disruptions to the centralized meat packing plant industry AND it’s whole distribution chain means high prices for consumers, low/no prices for the ranchers and everyone is praying they don’t have to destroy any of their herd in waste or watch them starve to death.

Small local businesses are running ragged trying to keep up with local needs OR are hoping they can survive the forced closures they endured for COVID.

If you want to work out here, there is no shortage of work to be done.

There have been many times, during my years on this planet and in this space on the planet, I’ve watched the forces of nature & events swirl around me and mine in one fashion or another.

I’ve watched for a long, long time as the national conversations and centralized systems business model do their concentrated best to break the spirit of many around me.

In lean years, hot years, dry years, everything here hunkers close to the ground – to conserve moisture, avoid the winds and keep their nose to ground and push on one more step in front of them on what needs be done.

In the abundant years? They stand taller, more upright, but woe to those who get a big head on spindly stalk, for it’s harder to get back up after the wind has blown you down, if your head is big and out here, if you can’t sway with the storms, you will break.

Despite the storms, the whiteouts, the tornados, the cold, the heat, the hardships, etc., I stand in awe of this land and all who inhabit it.

Over and over again, in this space where time flies by and yet, stands still when need be.

I’m sure you have your Two Miles too

Those places that transcend current events, current woes, challenges or even have a hand in delivering the challenges to you, but where you also, at times, stand in quiet awe of the very temerity of those things that insist they belong, and continue to survive and stand strong, no matter what Mother Nature or man’s inhumanity to man chooses to mete out.

And, for all those who are staying close to the ground to dare to survive while the winds of fortune whirl around them; while they balance as best they can on the sharp, hot, shifting rocks full of spines, stickers and flaked edges that slice the feet and the heart –

Well, I have my two miles, you have yours.

But, I stand beside you in spirit and if I had a tail, I’d do my best to swish the pests from your eyes and face.

Always have a Red File

An inquiry from a colleague recently, regarding processes, checklists, etc., took me back to the first time I heard the words “Red File”

It was 1992, and I had just started in a new career of being a police/EMS dispatcher.

While there were many skills and personal traits I had brought to the new career from my past, overall, there was still much for me to learn before I might take my place in rotation by working shifts alone.

One of the easiest new things to learn/remember was….

The Red File

During a training shift with one of my favorite new co-workers, we were making our way through the last portions of the standard training checklist, and we arrived at the bullet point “Railroads”

And very short list of my duties when things involving a train went horribly wrong.

My mentor said in her quiet, lady like voice…

Don’t try to remember this list. You may never have to do this. Just grab the red file and work down the list if it does happen on your shift.

Suffice to say, I heard the words “Red File” and I was on alert, thinking,

Whoa!! This must be really, really important

Well, yes and no.

Yes, it was important and there were extra things that needed to be done, by me, PDQ*, should an accident happen, or derailment, etc., that weren’t part of my normal duties.

*Pretty Durn Quick

The normal duties I would, sadly, through pure repetition, soon be able to do automatically without having to think about it, just then.

Accidents happen and life seems to get ugly often, when it’s your job to show up and serve others during one or more of the ‘worst day’ of their lives.

Furiously writing notes in my steno pad, to revisit and commit to my memory later, I scrawled out the words and for good effect, placed 3 bold lines under “R.E.D. File”, added some stars to each side, and then asked,

“What does the R.E.D. acronym stand for?”

I tend to remember things better if it’s ‘attached’ to something else in my brain – a story, what portion of the overall process such a thing makes possible, whatever – I need an anchor and connections in order to quickly retrieve the info.

She laughed, reached to the shelf above the radio console, pulled down a red binder, and said,

“Not an acronym this time. We call it that because the binder is red.”

She then ‘educated me’ on what the Red File contained.

Basically, the Red File held the checklists/procedures that were rarely used, but very important to do, if/when the unexpected actually happened.

To this day, there are still times I provide clients with information, processes or short checklists and tell them,

“This needs to be in your Red File.”

Most of them have heard the story and know what I’m saying. Sometimes they ask why, but mostly, I can just say Red File and they get it.

What is a Red File?

A Red file doesn’t have to be red – it can be any color you want and doesn’t have to be a binder either.

What is does need to be is:

  • Easily Accessible and not easily covered up or lost in among other items in the file cabinet, on the shelf or lost beneath other papers on the ‘notice board’
  • Updated as soon as something changes in that particular process
  • Small and well organized and quick to leaf through
  • Separate from your regular daily processes or operational & procedural manuals

What Do you Put into your Red File?

Any process you need to do, that meets more one or more of the following criteria:

  • Only needs done once a year, or once every 5 years…etc.
  • Events that only rarely, if ever, actually occur
  • Processes you rarely, if ever, actually have to do
  • Extremely important in nature
  • Has multiple steps that spells doom for you or others if you don’t get them right, or do them in the correct order.
  • Cascading points of external failures/links of failure, if not done promptly and properly

Work & Personal Red Files

I have 2 Red Files going (and neither are actually red) – One is for Work and one is Personal, and holds my stuff, and the stuff other’s need to get put on duty list for someone else, now that I’m gone.

If I’m working more than one job, I usually end up ‘in charge’ of keeping a whole bunch of red files updated, current, assessed or annually ‘checked’.

Therefore, I dub myself, not only the Queen of Caulking, but also self-appoint me to be Red File authority – 😀

Examples from my Personal Red File

  • Checklist of items to have in GoBag and annual check of contents to have in it should events require evacuation or cowering in the cellar while the house is blown off its’ foundation above us.
  • Legacy options in place for various online accounts I use that provide such options. I check once a year whether I need to or not, update as needed, add new ones to the ‘checklist’ as legacy options become available.
  • Wishes from family members on their medical directives, DNR preferences, obituary, funeral/burial preferences they figure I’ll be in charge of making the decisions/arrangements. My history and personality means, if someone needs support at the ER, ICU or Funeral Home, yup, I’m the one they think of to call…
  • List of assets/household goods for insurance purposes. Updated as needed, checked once a year to ensure current.
  • List of medical directives, DNR wishes, insurance, benefits, etc., I hold, along with my wishes for getting my body properly taken care of if I’m not able to discuss such things. Updated as needed, checked once a year to ensure still true for me.

Does this list make you cringe?

It’s okay if it does.

It makes a lot of my friends & family cringe too.

Clients don’t tend to cringe as much when I tell them about work Red Files and the one I keep for my business that supports them. They like that I’m thinking ahead for them, in case my little one man show is interrupted.

But for many, they would prefer not to have to think about it, wonder about or talk about it.

Some fear even a hint of discussion about such things like death and what might happen if one is not prepared or here anymore, might actually invite disaster in, so why take such a risk?

There are few topics I really am rather a stickler on

Then, there are some topics, I’m a hard-arse on…

“Yes, we need to have this conversation. I’m sorry not pleasant for you, but it needs to happen. Maybe it’s for me, maybe it’s for you, I suspect it’s for both of us.”

The Red File Conversation, here and there, is one that shows up fairly consistently.

Perhaps I’m just ‘projecting’.

Come now – we all know that’s a huge possibility given my history and work experience!

I’ve personally learned the hard way when rare or unexpected events occur that I really don’t want to be trying to ‘think rationally’ and I might not even be able to think at all, just then, if I am emotionally in a state of disbelief, panic, grief, or scrambling to stem the tide of personal impacts rolling over me due to decisions made by others.

And for many in my circle of influence, I suspect they don’t want to be doing that either.

They may not personally know it yet, for perhaps they haven’t had many or any opportunities to say to themselves:

“Self, I really, really I say! I am okay with never riding in [that] rodeo, ever again!

Therefore, I tell them and now I’m telling you, too, should such things befall you at some point:

  • You probably just want a list that you feel fairly confident has been updated recently, can grab quickly and simply start working the checklist – step-by-step.
  • You want a list that doesn’t require you to be with it, focused, well rested, or pain free.
  • Once you have your Red File(s) compiled and get used to updating it, checking in with it once a year – life just becomes easier.

Why is life easier after slogging through that horrible inner landscape?

Well, it is, because now….

You’ve thought about it, assessed, prepared best as you can and now, only once in awhile, do you even have to ‘think’ about it!

  • If the worst DOES happen, you don’t have to be at your best – you grab & go to work.
  • If the worst never happens, okey dokey then.
    • You have, however, spent some time examining your inner landscape of fears, anxieties & doubts…
    • You addressed them, dealt with them and came out on the other side with a sparkly pretty pink binder with butterflies on it (because that’s your style) and now…
  • You are renewed with a sense of inner peace and courage, because you’ve faced the demons within, got them named, exorcised and turned them into something pretty on the shelf, to boot.
  • Perhaps someday, some ‘thing’ you didn’t think about shows up along with stuff you have prepared for – now you only have to spend your ‘frazzled panicked mind trying to work’ on the one you hadn’t prepared for – the rest, you know by rote or have a checklist to follow.

See? Win-Win-Win, overall.

And if you’re not a butterflies/rhinestone personage, that’s okay – a beautiful leather journal that increases in beauty as it ages, works too…..

Red Files for Work may be lighter in nature

A list of examples from many ‘red files’ over the years – mine, help files for clients and various other work places:

  • How to change DNS records to different service providers, on your domain , that you set up for auto-billing and never logged back in – and how to make changes without losing access to your website or email.
    • How to discover where your domain was registered if so long ago, you don’t even remember now, or lost the sticky note you wrote 3 years ago….
  • How to archive your accounting files and carry over your starting balances to the new year, because you are stubborn and refuse to move back to the more pricey accounting option, just for the ease of automatically doing that operation once a year….
  • How to reconnect the current year staff csv file to the form template made to make laminated passes for the year, because you only do this once a year.
  • List of required reports/report compilations that only have to be done annually, or every 5 years and what tools are used to bring them all together from diverse external systems without retyping them by hand, because someone didn’t update their version and you can’t just open the report and push the ‘fetch’ button…
  • Annual archiving of various items to storage/or into digital format and where those files are to be sent for storage or ‘oversight’ committees – with first option that reads: “Distribution list last updated on [date]

But those same work red files, here and there, also hold the very things you hope you never have experience:

  • Disaster Emergency checklist(s)/notifications
  • Fire/Tornado/Blizzard response
  • Active Shooter checklist/scenarios

Red Files & Checklists Aren’t Just for Pilots, Medical or Emergency Response folks

They are for you, your loved ones, your team, your co-workers, your employees/employers, your clients, too.

Don’t be that lead who kept everything in his head and sadly, died from a massive heart attack at work one day, and no one could figure out which project was at what stage, for months.

Just Get ‘er done, update as needed and then, when the annual operations time arrives or the unexpected occurs and you just aren’t at your best right now – well you only have remember one thing:

I need my Red File

Grab it, open to the page/section, and just start working that list, step by step.

*Featured Image for this post courtesy of openclipart.org

For the Love of All that is Holy… STATS!

For a long time, I don’t look at my stats – – I’m appreciative of each new notification of a ‘follower’ and do my best to respond in some form or fashion to new comments – but seriously, stats, as shown here and in other places, I truly believe, are designed to drive folks nuts and/or fund a whole slice of industry/work sector – – how to – services – tutorship on how to ‘win’ at the stats game – –

yes, I’m STILL Grumpy over the whole Algorithm/Stats game…

Simply because – I’ve seen the Man behind the Curtain game of stats generation on many levels, especially in biz & public policy land –

via GIPHY

…and you know me – if it’s humankind made and/or trending – well – I just am cynical about that stuff –

And so, I realized, today, after a comment came in and I’m thinking, “Who is that?!? Oh…wait….maybe some one followed a tag – remember, your ‘new followers’ list is long that you haven’t gotten over to their blog for a lookey-loo, cruise through the neighborhood trip for….”

And I realized, oops! maybe I should go look at the list to see how far I’m behind and…opps!

I ended up on the stats page to try to find a quick list instead of scrolling through my notifications list to get a count –

And alas, I stopped myself – simply because, even IF I compile the list – it will be awhile before I check it off – sigh – so, when under the gun, what’s the point? I’ll compile the to-do list when I have a hope in hell of doing it –

So again, I say, I haven’t grown much, if at all, on the online marketing front – I still view stats, notification algorithms, reminders with a healthy…HEALTHY dose of cynicism –

Why?

Well, because it’s not my goal to go viral, be famous, or try my hardest to keep up with 100K followers a day – crap – what a nightmare that would be!

I still believe, in my heart and soul, one of the core needs of the human spirit is to ‘be truly seen or heard’ – and seriously, as one person, how many people can I ‘truly hear/see’ in one 24 hour period? Really?

And yes, yes, one can ‘hire VA [virtual assistants] or implement a chat bot named Sydney or Alice or Bob, or whatevs – but then – well – has that other human truly been heard? felt heard? Probably not – at this stage of the game (based on my own experience of chat bots showing up – and I don’t even know where they got it right and I was talking to a chat bot and didn’t even know it and I don’t care – if issue resolved, if challenge handled, if rep connected with when I write 2,400 words when I do as requested, by labeled chat entity as ‘bot’

“Hmmm…can you tell us more detail?”

Fine! Who cares? Did it get solved or not? Did it get answered/addressed or not? Did I feel heard or did I wrack up in my mind’s storage center, just another example of how lots more talking/typing going on – less communication actually occurring –

Granted, I’m starting to get ‘experiential feedback’ on the fact that me blogging in social media comments might actually be of assistance to others – and, just like me being blunt, [harsh], on other fronts over the years – –

Well, I just really don’t get that much feedback from critical areas, that indicate me being me is wracking up more damages than gains –

Who knows? But, that said – stats are okay if you want to figure out how to anticipate and meet a need before someone has to figure out how to ask it – (YES! THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT! Because lord knows, many knowledge bases, help files and forums are a train wreck of confusing information, for one who is willing to spend the time, but…..

And so, I continue on in my [ahem] wanton ways –

But if you’ve followed my blog and I haven’t visited yours yet, don’t take it personally – I’m just behind on my todo list – –

Ten Years…

I logged in to share two poems that have come BACK on my radar as I work through various relationship things or try to find a way to give another a window to look into of me –

I’m informed, by WP, that I’ve been blogging here for 10 years – it’s actually been 12 or more since I first discovered blogging, but when I started, it was writing blog articles for other folks – and once I wasn’t working for their site, well….what a boon to discover in 2010 that I could have me very own blog – to say what I wanted too – not what others needed for their goals, advertisers, etc…

Now that anniversary has been acknowledged, AND I took that ‘side trip’ down memory lane….

Here’s the two poems that have been in my mind/heart for the past week, for many and varied reasons –

The Man in the Mirror

When you get all you want and you struggle for self,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.

He's the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.

By Dale Wimbrow

If –

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:



If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:



If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’



If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

By Rudyard Kipling

That’s it – my check in – in form of poetry shares – – I’m assessing so many things on so many levels just now – Life is just one big transition – over and over – and for now – I’m just in the process of ‘updating my stories’ but I am starting to see the path ahead – so that’s good news!

Hope this finds you and yours well.

Tamrah Jo

I Shall Miss You…

Today, I attended the funeral of one who encouraged me in my writing dream.

He died before ever I even sent him one chapter of ‘first draft’ of the book he encouraged me to write – even though I thought, “not marketable” and …

Even though he said it was welcome on his reading table and he didn’t care how bad that first draft was.

Today, I stood by, on the fringes of the large community that made an effort on many fronts, to be there – to honor him, his life, and to let his family know, he was known and remembered fondly.

And all I could think of was what a difference he made on so many fronts, in so many ways….

For me – just little ole me – yeah, yeah, he did so many wonderful things on so many global – GLOBAL FRONTS!- mind you – but there I stood – and all I could think of was how badly I would miss his presence in my life.

I thought of the times when his short emails, or spoken words or written words could either make me soar with the eagles I had done something right, or vow, next time, I won’t let him down.

He never judged or scolded me for speaking my heart and sending flowery, long winded emails – or notes or letters –

He always let me know he had received and appreciated.

On work things? He always pushed me – found fault with various ideas – – always pushing me to ‘be better’ consider this, consider that….-

I shall miss that man. I shall miss everything about him.

I shall miss the times we argued on some fronts and he told me I was wrong or was missing the point.

I shall miss his kind-hearted ways that somehow, loved the soft parts of me that so seek expression and he was one of the few that read what I wrote when baring my soul, and said, “Thank you” or ” that was good…”

He loved the very parts of me that come easy and let me know I was loved, even while he held me to a higher standard on other fronts and pushed me towards reaching them – –

For me, it’s like I lost, again, today, my dad, all over again.

The funny thing is – we didn’t know each other that long.

And I wasn’t ever part of his inner circle.

And not my place to say such things or claim such things, without causing hurt to others.

And so I won’t – but – today – a very, very important mentor in my life, will no longer be around to laud or encourage me to ‘do better’ –

And another voice that made me who I am, now, is lost – and I thought, perhaps I had become immune to such things, through pure stubbornness in not ever getting that close to someone again….

Never trusting someone that far again….

And never, ever, shall I let someone see me cry, ever again – –

But you see me crying, now, don’t you, Mr. Mentor –

That’s okay if you see me crying –

And someday, I hope we stand together, once again, and I can’t wait to argue my point and then hear you say, “well, this was good, but you have to learn…..”

I’ll miss you.

Very, Very much.

Until we meet again –
LUB
Tam